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Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
7 10

PLOT: Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is tasked by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to find Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), whose lineage makes him invaluable to the evil Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

REVIEW: Here’s the thing about these FANTASTIC BEASTS movies – they’re not made for kids. Sure, kids can watch them, but they’re not the target audience. The original kinda tried to have it both ways, but this sequel leans heavily into the fact that, really, these movies were designed for the now adult kids that grew up on the franchise. The typical first generation Potter fan is likely in their late twenties/early thirties. They’re the demo here and consequently, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is the grimmest addition to the J.K. Rowling’s universe to date.

For some critics, they’ve clearly gone too far, with the film opening with Johnny Depp as Grindelwald’s escape from custody, where he kills one of the titular fantastic beasts. Mere moments later, he orders a baby killed. Wizards and Muggles are evaporated willy-nilly here and it remains to be seen whether or not audiences will go for the new vibe. It’s a risky move as the last one slightly underperformed. You’d think their course correction would have been to go lighter, but despite a return to Hogwarts there’s not much levity here.

It all adds up to a bit of a mixed bag. As always, David Yates makes a competent entry into the saga, although with this being his sixth film in the universe, you can’t blame the guy if it’s all getting a touch creaky, and some new blood might not be a bad idea (I happened to like his lone non-Potter film, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN). The cast is top shelf, although the good guys, led by Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander get comparatively little to do here but provide exposition. Katherine Waterston’s Tina and Alison Sudol’s Queenie are sidelined for large chunks of the film, while Dan Fogler’s Jacob Kowalski takes on more of a tragic dimension compared to how he was used as comic relief in the last one.

Rather, the focus is on Ezra Miller’s Credence Barebone, as he tries to learn the truth of his lineage, while the second major character, Zoë Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange, must come to terms with her own involvement in his tortured history. The now controversial Johnny Depp also gets a lot of screen time as Grindelwald and despite the weariness of seeing him once again hiding behind makeup and an accent, he’s better here than he’s been in a long time – at least going back to BLACK MASS. He seems thoroughly into the part and makes for a memorable baddie – more so than I thought he would. Best of all of the new additions though is Jude Law as Dumbledore, who affects an Irish lilt to his accent, sounding an awful lot like Richard Harris – a nice tribute to the guy that originated the part. He’s not in it too much, but he’ll leave you wanting more – which is good as he’s being set up to be a major force in the sequels.

However, it remains to be seen if FANTASTIC BEASTS’s box office performance will allow for a sequel. With a predicted $250 million worldwide opening weekend, it seems like a safe bet, but then again, a similar number for JUSTICE LEAGUE couldn’t save it from a massive DC reboot. This is a dicey proposition and fans will likely be divided about the new direction. I for one liked it, but bear in mind I’ve only ever been a casual Harry Potter fan – so take my recommendation with a grain of salt.

Source: JoBlo.com

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